AGENCY INTELLIGENCE PODCAST NETWORK
Podcast group offers 10 different shows in one convenient location
By Christopher W. Cook
Not being a podcast guy myself, I had no idea of the number of insurance-industry-specific podcasts that are out there. And while by no means have I covered all of them, I’ve decided to take a break from my coverage of insurance podcasts. But before we sign off, we’re going to talk about something a little different: The Agency Intelligence Podcast Network (AIPN).
The AIPN provides 10 different podcast shows conveniently together in a single location. The brainchild of Jason Cass, owner of Agency Intelligence and managing partner of the Insurance Alliance, the podcast network began with a solo show and expanded from there.
“I started Agents Influence in 2013,”Cass says. “Brian Appleton, a marketing guy I know, told me that ‘whenever I talk, it’s interesting,’ and that I should start a podcast. He said, ‘Just record for 30 minutes and I’ll do all the rest of the work.’ I didn’t know anything about podcasting, but I eventually built a huge following. It took a long time for that to happen, starting with five downloads a day—and that was a huge thing, knowing that I had five people who were actually listening to me.
“In 2018, I started another podcast called Agency Intelligence Podcast, and I put them both on the same feed so, for example, you go to Spotify and see both shows on the Agency Intelligence feed. By now podcasts are starting to pop up everywhere.”
Cass reached out to his friend Ryan Hanley, founder and president of Rogue Risk, who had a newer podcast of his own—The Ryan Hanley Show—that was at the time getting download numbers similar to when Cass first started. An idea entered Cass’s head to play Hanley’s show on his podcast feed.
Around the same time, Cass reached out to Katlyn Eggar, director of education and development, direct channel and agency force, at Quantum Assurance International. He helped her get her podcast, The Age of Indiependence, up and running, and she became the first show to join the AIPN; Hanley soon followed.
“We tested it out in January 2021, and it only made more people listen to the network. Katlyn had her own little niche with mega startups, and Ryan had his own podcast niche, so we decided to find somebody who used to be a captive and then became a successful independent agent; that’s where we got Agency Freedom with James Jenkins (founder and CEO at RiskWell),” Cass says.
The topic of commercial insurance came next, adding Millionaire Insurance Producer, hosted by Charles Specht, president and CEO of Permission Sales. Also joining the group was Explain This Book to Me, hosted by Josh Lipstone, vice president of ISU-Lipstone Insurance Group; Power Women in Insurance, hosted by Teresa Kitchens, agency owner of Safe Beacon Insurance; and The MVP Podcast, hosted by Mitch Gibson, a risk advisor at HRM Insurance Services.
“Our most recent show we just added is Digital Insurance Pint out of Canada hosted by Jeff Roy (CEO of Excalibur Insurance Group),” Cass says. “We’re a syndicate of theirs, so we play their show now in America.”
The AIPN also offers sponsorship opportunities by playing ads during the middle and end of its shows. “We pay a percentage of the earnings to the podcasters,” Cass says. “That’s not why we do the podcasts, but it doesn’t hurt.” Having ads also benefits the network by providing the funds to edit, produce and publish the shows.
Aside from sponsors, there are also partners, who are members of the Agency Intelligence Mastermind. Thesubscription-based group has bi-weekly meetings to discuss topics like sales and marketing strategies, technology and operations, and recruitment and retention. Agency Intelligence also offers an invite-only professional retreat,Brainshare, which takes place annually in the spring.
The shows are produced by PodSquad, a company co-founded by Cass. “I did all the work on my own podcast for a long time after Brian left and then, in2018, I hired Sarah Nicholas (chief marketing and operations officer at Agency Intelligence), who is the owner of PodSquad. I couldn’t have built this whole brand without her; she has been instrumental and a loyal soldier of mine.”
The build-up of the network has brought a lot of attention from other podcasters, but “we just don’t let anybody on the network,” Cass says. “You have to fit in and have a reason why we need you on there.
“We’re at over 2,000 downloads a day and we roughly do almost 60,000 downloads a month, and it just keeps growing. We have anywhere between 5,600 to 6,500 monthly listeners. Megaphone, which is owned by Spotify, gives us the best metrics and we’re in the top 20% of all podcasts in the world as far as downloads, and we’re just a network that only serves the insurance industry.”
Influence and intelligence
As previously mentioned, Cass is the host of two shows: Agents Influence and Agency Intelligence Podcast. “I release new episodes on Tuesdays; sometimes it’s Agency Intelligence and sometimes it’s Agents Influence; it depends on the guest,” Cass says. “Agency Intelligence Podcast is learning about what’s inside the agency. You’re only hearing from CSRs, agency owners and agents, and we’re discussing topics like agency operations, sales, and marketing. With Agents Influence, we interview CEOs of insurance companies, consultants and vendors in the insurance industry—anybody who’s outside the agency. I had CEOs wanting to know specifically about what the agent was thinking and agents who wanted to hear about what was going on outside of the agency, so that’s why I created the two shows.”
Both shows use similar introductions with energetic music mixed with snip-pets from previous episodes in between lines of dialogue. Agency Intelligence Podcast says: “This is A.I. podcast, not artificial intelligence, but agency intelligence. A platform for agents in real-life agencies sharing their thoughts to transform an industry.” Its conclusion reminds the listener that the host “gave you a real agent inside a real agency giving you the real agency intelligence and not the artificial that they try to make you believe out there.”
Agents Influence starts with: “This is Agents Influence podcast … and we’re going to help you think differently, change your agency, change your finances, change your family and in the end, we’re going to change the industry.” It wraps up with Cass’s “famous saying”: “Tell me your thoughts. Tell me your ideas. I’m going to tell the world what you have to say.”
After the introductions, the guest is brought on and every episode of Agency Intelligence Podcast begins with the asking of three questions: “Are you an Android or Apple user and what’s the last app you down-loaded? Do you love to win, or do you hate to lose? And there are two things in the world that got you to where you are: skill and luck. Which has been a bigger factor in your life?” Cass says.
“I then, so the listeners can relate to them, ask the guest to ‘take us back to diapers, back to high school’ and bring us forward to who they are now in two to three minutes, so we hear their backstory. And then—and it’s unscripted—I pop questions for usually around 20 to 30 minutes.”
Cass does not discuss topics with guests ahead of time. “I will not do it, because you lose your energy,” he says. “Someone will tell you a story, and it’s like, ‘wow, that’s awesome,’ but then you get on the podcast a week later and it just not the same. I’ve had people who will not record because they’re so worried about what they’re going to say.”
Agency Intelligence Podcast episodes wrap up with two personal questions: “Leaders are readers and readers are leaders, and you must be a leader, so you must be a reader; tell me what you’re reading right now. And what are you watching right now with your ‘Boo’ on Hulu, spending time on Amazon Prime, or getting your kicks on Netflix?”
While shows can range from 25 to 90 minutes, Cass tries to keep them between 30 and 35 minutes, because “that’s usually the average drive time for somebody, or the average time they can listen while working out,” he says.
With several years under his belt and many more to come, Cass says that his most memorable moments with the podcasts are the people he has met and helped along the way. “I’ve done over 700 shows,” he says. “I’ve met people who know President Obama firsthand. The people you meet in the process and the ideas you hear from normal, everyday agents is phenomenal. It’s all about helping people. I truly enjoy it.”
For anyone interested in checking out either Agents Influence or Agency Intelligence, Cass recommends the following episodes:
Agency Intelligence Podcast: “Golfing with Billy Williams”—February 9, 2021
Agents Influence: “Ryan Hanley is Doing the Work You Won’t”—July 20, 2021
Due to the plethora of information that the shows in the AIPN provide, we will take a deeper look at the other shows in the Agency Intelligence Podcast Network in a future issue. Until then … happy listening.
For more information:
Agency Intelligence Podcast Network
“The people you meet
in the process and the ideas
you hear from normal,
everyday agents is
It’s all about
I truly enjoy it.”